Interview: Filmmaker Tom Storey

We chat with the director of ‘Mr Lonesome’, a short film created to raise awareness of loneliness in the elderly.

“One thing I tried to do with Mr Lonesome is deal with a social issue but without the usual stereotype of sorrow and sympathy. Mr Lonesome is in fact the complete opposite – it’s a film about hope.” – Tom Storey

Mr. Lonesome is a short film by up-and-coming Nottingham film director Tom Storey. It focuses on the character of James Fridrick, an elderly man who is struggling with the recent loss of his partner. For James, every day is a battle as he tries to come to terms with life without his significant other. Then one day it looks as though his luck is about to change…

For a relatively new filmmaker, loneliness is a brave subject to tackle, yet it is one that will strike a chord with many people both young and old. According to the Campaign to End Loneliness, over 9 million people in the UK – almost a fifth of the population – say they are always or often lonely, but almost two thirds feel uncomfortable admitting to it. Over half (51%) of all people aged 75 and over live alone. I was deeply impressed by Tom’s enthusiasm for covering such a difficult but important topic and the way he has dealt with it so sensitively.

I caught up with Tom him to ask him a few questions:

Hi Tom, thanks for chatting to We Are Cult! Can I ask what got you interested in film making?

I’ve always been interested in films since a very young age – watching as many of my Dad’s DVD collection as I physically could. As time went on I started to be interested in the behind the scenes of films  – how exactly they were made and this fascinated me. And once I got a camera in my hands it kind of just kicked off from there really!

What inspired Mr. Lonesome?

The original inspiration for Mr Lonesome came from a couple of things. To start with I’ve always noticed that when it came to charities etc. They never seemed to point out a simple problem such as loneliness and how just someone to talk to can make their life a whole lot better. That’s when I noticed that Age UK Derbyshire had a whole section on loneliness so decided to team up with them to raise a bit of money along the way! When it came to the main character, I really liked the concept of a protagonist that is miserable and mean to others, yet the audience can’t help but love him for his miserable traits. For the keen-eyed of you out there, there’s a strong resemblance in Mr Lonesome himself to the main character in the Disney film ‘UP’. 

Do you envisage making more films about social issues?

Maybe. One thing I tried to do with Mr Lonesome is deal with a social issue but without the usual stereotype of sorrow and sympathy. Mr Lonesome is in fact the complete opposite – it’s a film about hope. So, in answer to your question, yes maybe if I come up with another idea about a social issue whilst eliminating the stereotype to make something different from the masses of issue films already out there.

What are you working on next?

I have a few ideas in the bag but nothing that’s touched the page yet. I’m planning on getting back into writing shortly and we’ll see from there!

What feedback have you had?

Mr Lonesome has gone down incredibly well so far both with friends and family and externals too. We have submitted for various film festivals around the country and I am proud to say we won Runner-Up in Best Drama in the Out of the Can Film Festival just the other week!

‘Mr. Lonesome’ will be screened at Derby Film Festival, Derby Quad, from 14th – 17th November.

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❉ David Geldard is a contributor to We Are Cult and loves Sci Fi & Horror, Doctor Who, Starburst Magazine, Stranger Things, The 60’s Avengers, Twilight Zone, The X-Files, cult movies and weird shit. He tweets as @BungleSir.

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